Congressman Rubén Hinojosa voted against the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget saying it cuts into the heart of America and will destroy Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.
Ryan's budget would slash about $3 Trillion in programs that help the most vulnerable and needy in our country. At the same time Ryan's budget GIVES $3 Trillion in tax cuts to corporations that send jobs offshore and to the wealthy.
"While there is no doubt that we need to tighten our belts when it comes to spending, I see no compassion in Mr. Ryan's budget," said Rep. Hinojosa. "It appears the Republicans are comfortable with slashing benefits from our Senior citizens, our children, our low-income and middle class families without touching the rich."
Some of the largest cuts will affect Senior citizens as they will see their Medicare and Medicaid benefits cut. The Republican backed budget plan would replace Medicare with a voucher program that would undermine essential protections for millions of our most vulnerable residents and require them to find their own insurance in the private insurance market.
Medicaid, which is often thought of as a program for the very poor, actually covers the costs of nearly two-thirds of all nursing home residents. This will also directly and drastically affect the needed care for the disabled.
"Republicans want to tear down the Affordable Care Act that is providing health care for more U.S. citizens than ever before," said Rep. Hinojosa. "That plan would put the control of an elderly person's health back in the hands of the insurance companies. It would end up costing Senior citizens more money than they could possibly afford and ultimately putting most of the burden on their families who are already struggling. This proposal will result in seniors losing nursing home care and other long-term care they need at a time when they need it the most."
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that Ryan's privatization plan would actually add to Medicare's costs.
Mr. Ryan's savings all come from cuts, and at least two-thirds of them come from programs serving the poor. The wealthy, meanwhile, would see their taxes lowered, and the Defense Department would escape the budget cuts.
Some of the programs taking a direct hit involve women and babies. $500 million will be cut from the Women and Infant Care (WIC) program. Head Start school cuts will close the school doors on thousands of pre-school children. Our low-income and middle class families will have to depend on one Pell Grant a year to send their family members to college and see the benefit cut in half, returning to the $3,040 level that we had in 1998. The plan would also cut direct federal college loans which will affect hundreds of students in our local universities and colleges in Deep South Texas.
And there are more direct hits to our economy and our middle class.
"Our Workforce Solutions programs will take a terrible hit with the Republican plan," said Rep. Hinojosa. $200 million will be cut from the Dislocated Workers Program that helps the unemployed find jobs. We are already looking at thousands of layoffs in our public schools throughout the state of Texas. The unemployed will be flooding the market with no program available to assist them in finding jobs. It makes no sense."
The cuts don't stop there. Republicans want to ignore our highways and bridges and are cutting infrastructure funding and that will directly affect our economy from rural communities to big cities. It will cut rural rental assistance and housing programs for our veterans.
"Ultimately, what the Republican's plan does is hurt the people who are struggling the most--students, seniors, veterans, women and children and the middle class including our teachers. There is no common sense in this plan at all. "